Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spoiler Alert

I've got a lot on my mind recently. Digging through the swamp that is my past and trying to find some meaning in it, some literary arc that might put the present in some kind of perspective. I've been searching for devices I can call upon that symbolize the changes I've made. I've been trying to recall what people have said and when, so I can pinpoint the many moments that lead me from there to here. its all part of a school project I'm working on. I don’t think I would do this unless I had to.

But moving on, below are some reflections on a movie. If you plan on seeing No Country for Old Men than skip this post, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I will say it’s a great movie and recommend that you go see it. I am a big fan, for what its worth.

I went to the movies and watched it, even though I downloaded the torrent a few days before. You just shouldn’t watch a film like that on a 12” laptop screen. Its almost as much a crime as downloading the movie.

In any case, the movie dealt with a lot of the same themes i've been mulling over when tackling my life story. Most notably: the theme of fate.

I've long been a believer that when a life is looked at as a whole, you can see a mans fate coming from a thousand yards away. The patterns of his existence, the meter of his movements, are the easiest tell. When Tommy Lee Jones character says that a group of thugs who were gunned down “died of natural causes,” he is speaking directly to what I'm trying to put forth. A man decides his fate long before he realizes it. In life, there is rarely a death that can go unforeseen.

And when Javier Bardem’s character [essentially, the embodiment of evil] tells an unsuspecting gas station attendant to “call it” when flipping a coin, he places this mans entire fate on a quarter of a dollar. When the man asks what he stands to win, Bardem simply replies, “everything.” Then he notes the year the coin was minted, 1958, and says that the entire lifespan of that coin led to them, there, and there was no other purpose for it. It wasn’t just 25 cents, it was a life’s destiny.

Later in the movie, when Bardem’s character tells a widow the same thing, to “call it,” she challenges his philosophy, refusing to call it and saying “that coin don’t have no say in my fate. Its just you.” Her doom is in the hands of him, Bardem, and the evilness he brings to her. Bardem holds the coin on his knee, his hand covering the face of what may come, and muses, “I got here the same way the coin did.” He has his fate, she has hers.

Now I'm using the term fate here very loosely, because I don’t really believe in any divine will. I don’t believe in destiny. I think people can change paths, that they are not confined to one road in life, but all roads lead to somewhere, no matter which one your on. the characters in this movie all lead inevitable lives. And there is something nasty about fate. It seems immovable, stubborn, unforgiving in its consequence. Josh Brolins character changed the road he was on when he picked up that satchel of money. He knew it, Javier Bardem knew it, and Tommy Lee Jones knew it.

I couldn’t tell you what my fate is. In fact, at the moment, I have no idea where I'm going in life. but that is beside the point, what is at hand here is a great movie that deals in the epic concern of minor decisions. I could write more about it, and maybe go further in depth on just what the hell I'm on about in this post, but I have no time and it’s of no matter anyhow. I will say though, that no performance will match Daniel Day Lewis this year, but its hard to deny that, save There Will be Blood, no movie can match the sad beauty of No Country for Old Men.

Monday, January 28, 2008

cause i would never be that cruel to you

things that have happened since i got back from Costa Rica lately:

- i saw There Will Be Blood. it was very good. you should go see it. if for nothing less than the Raisonettes.

-i bought a pack of camel filters and i kind of like them.

- i went back to school. i have a class on saturday at 9am. so that guy on Fat Albert was wrong. If one is like school on saturday, one is thus classy, and does not have no class. so shut up you fucking asshole.

- i have started a play list for a New Jack Swing mix. Never in a million years would i have thought i'd be making a playlist with Michel'le on it. well, actually, yeah. its kind of typical when i think of it. you know, now that ive really put some thought into it, this has probably been done a million times, or at least about 20 times. shit, i bet DK has made one that will without a doubt be better than mine already. oh well, im still going to do it. its my prerogative.

- i started booking djs for the bar i tend. ive decided i dont want to dj there. im there enough. but if you are a brooklyn dj and you think you got soul and rhythm hit me up.

- i downloaded No Country For Old Men from a bit torrent site. im a criminal. if its any consolation, i could only watch 20 minutes of it on my laptop before i realized to get the true scope of the movie i'd have to see it in a theater and turned it off.

- Miles knocked over a plant and it broke the toilet seat and i had to sweep a bunch of dirt and dead leaves up from the bathroom floor at 7am. that was sweet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

the drug nod

on the way to the cafe one morning in costa rica we stopped by the bank to pick up some money. out in front were two Tico kids leaning on one of the cars in the parking lot. one had dreadlocks and had lazy eyes and the other had long straight hair uncut and uncombed and only wore shorts and flip flops. the straight hair one looked me in the eye with an eager knowing and began nodding his head in a fashion that suggested we had an affair to resume.

the drug nod.

i noticed it instantly and, needing some weed, reciprocated the nod and smiled widely. bearing all teeth, innocence and graciousness painted on my mug. he took a step toward me and i toward him and we tried to execute a proper transaction using just my broken spanish and a flurry of tight, descreet hand gestures. unfortunately his lack of any ingles prevented us from completing the deal and i had to get into the bank before we drew too much attention to ourselves. there were men holding shotguns not too far from us. sometimes you just shouldnt push it. when we exited the bank the kids were gone. but i knew then, they were there. that i just needed to find them.

later that afternoon we were on the beach and the two kids came walking up to us. the dreadlocked kid spoke perfect ingles and we had a brief conversation about his supply and my demand. at the time i had scored already from the owner of the hotel we were staying at and didnt need any, but i got his name, and he told me where he hung out and we made plans to see each other in the days that followed.

a few days into the week and we were out of weed again. i told everyone not to fear, that i could find us some. no worries. where there is demand, there is supply.

after looking at the spot where my weed dealing Tico friend hung out and not finding him there [it was a beach nightclub i had visited a few nights before. thats an entirely different, and much more boring, story all together] i decided to walk along the main avenue assuming that someone in the tiny beach town would know where to get some weed.

i strolled down the dirt road in the night and people wooshed past on ATV's kicking up dust and howling in celebration. young, vacationing americans seizing their dream. not too long into the journey i passed another Tico kid, this one unfamiliar and wearing a baseball hat backward and long cut off khaki's for shorts. i said hola and he said something in spanish and we walked beyond each other a few steps as if that was it. a gentle confrontation. i turned around and he still looked in my direction.

boom. the drug nod.

i went back to him and explained i needed some mota, mexican slang for weed but all i could offer in terms of communication. he casually nodded his head and asked how much. 10,000 colones, i said, no mas. i moved my hands across each other in a motion like that of an umpire yelling "strike!" he broke me off a small brick and i gave him the money. he said "i got some good yay-yo too." i thought about who i was with and what cocaine would bring to the party and declined his offer. on the way back to the villa, my sweaty palm holding the small brick in my pocket, i pondered the universal language of gestures and looks. the drug nod. the strike sign. supply and demand.

it was easy enough scoring, but i really wish there were these things everywhere. it would make life so much easier.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

un viaje recordó

I’ll try to make this quick.

we arrived at the airport in pants and sneakers and t-shirts and the sun burnt down on us but it was without harm, like a gentle blessing beaming through a hole in the sky. we hopped on a shuttle going straight to Montverde. from the airport it was all paved. I stared from the window a while and then read a book. she slept on my shoulder. I rubbed my cheek on her forehead. just as we began climbing the mountain to Santa Elena the road grew holes and pavement gave way to dirt and earth. tress grew wild beyond the cliffs. the driver said in broken english that the ride would grow bumpy and slow. I asked how to say slow in Spanish. the driver said lento. I made a mental note of that.

when we arrived at the hostel it was night and the insects screamed out from the darkness of the forest. our room was four walls and a bed and a shower that dripped weak cold water. we laughed at the luxuriousness of it all and put down our bags and went to dinner. by the time our plates had been scraped and our heads were floating in cheap beer and whiskey everything in the small town was cerrado. there was no where to go except an empty local bar where they played loud merenge music and the bartenders spoke no ingles. we went in and tipped a few more back then retired to our palace, tired and drunk, a film of dirt covering our skin.

the next morning we woke up early. we hopped on a shuttle with 6 other people who spoke english. we arrived at Selvatura and settled into our tours, first one being the zip line. I'm not sure yet what picture I will post for this entry, but if its one of me doing the zip line, gather how epic soaring from 10 stories above the rainforest must feel. There were moments of calm where I, hanging loosely from my gear and sliding down the line, would lose my breath and surrender to the silence below me. You marvel at it all as you would anything that defeats what your imagination provided. the grandness of nature, the peace and violence of the wild, far under you as you move in comfort across the cold blue sky. I never once felt I would fall.

that night we went on another tour. this one a walking tour, through the rainforest holding onto nothing but flashlights and our wits. it rained and the wetness falling rumbled beneath the conversation of wildlife in the trees and dirt and the holes burrowed along the path. we saw a viper hanging from a tree in attack position. a tarantula scurried from me as I tried to take a picture. a sloth sat, unmoving at the edge of a high limb. a scorpion glowed on the stump of a fallen tree.

that night we went back to the local bar and had a few more beers. there was nothing open with food save this barren diner with no tables or chairs, just a television and a counter and a small room with curious pinball machines that the local’s gambled on. we ate fried chicken with ketchup and drank wine from styrofoam cups.

the next morning we made the trip to Mal Pias, a small surf town on the tip of the Costa Rican peninsula. when we arrived the sun hung large and fiery in the clear azure above the earths horizon. the air was warm like a blanket. our friends were already at the villas. our room was wide and majestic. there was a private patio overlooking the beach and sea where we would later smoke cigarettes and talk about the future and the past and kiss open mouthed with only the moon as our witness. there was a large bathroom with a shower big enough for two. we opened a few beers and sat in the hammock enjoying the heat and letting time fall loosely from the sides of us like meat from a well cooked bone.

we went to a cafe every morning and ordered cups of cafe con leche in broken Spanish even though the baristas spoke perfect ingles. in the afternoon we would walk to the beach and dive into the warm surf letting the salt wash our eyes, giggling. the tow was strong and unforgiving. far out beyond the beach I panicked, flailing in the water. a series of waves escorted me back in and I never again went further than a surface beneath my feet.

one day we drove to Montezuma and hiked up a mountain to a waterfall. hugging the stream, finding holds in the rock that were sturdy enough to support us. asking each other did we pass it? how much longer? donde esta la cascada? then finding the waterfall and the Tico children jumping from the top of it howling from their darkened bellies all the way down 50 feet and crashing deep into the water. we were too afraid to jump from that high. she jumped from 20 feet. I jumped from about 40. it took us half an hour to work up the courage. standing on the side of rocks looking down at the water, murky yet clean, small burst of nervous laughter and looking at each other dripping wet saying with our eyes its ok, you´ll live. I promise.

it might be that picture I post. We’ll see.

the final day and on the way to the cafe we saw a howler monkey hanging on the electrical wires that crawl along the tops of the road. we stopped and stared at it for a while before we realized it wasn’t moving. she frowned and a jeep drove by and a thick cloud of dust rose up and consumed the howlers drooping body, limp y still en muerte.

On the trip home we took a small boat from Montezuma to Jaco. we had to stand in the water on the beach then board the vessel with wet feet, sunglasses sliding from the tips of our nose. our luggage was wrapped in big black hefty bags then tied so that if they fell off the boat they would float in the ocean, ready for retrieval. I took off my shirt and let the sun beat a dark brown into my skin. she pointed to a whale and I turned quickly shrieking donde? donde? but it was submerged by the time I faced where it was. she laid her head on my shoulder and rested. I rubbed my stubbly cheek on her forehead. the ocean was a glassy blue and stretched far beyond the shore of mountains, further than the clouds in our eyes. endless.

Monday, January 21, 2008

the giants win the pennant!

I’ve got a lot to write about but I don’t feel like writing about it just now. I guess that makes what I'm writing a bit of nonsense. A bunch of something that aint really nothing. Oh well, I can live with that.

The Giants won the NFC championship tonight. It was pretty dramatic at the bar. A dozen hands smacked down on the wood. Drinks spilled in jerks of frustration. Loud swears and high fives. Elbows swung in grief. Palms went up in celebration. Heads shook when it was all over. God damn I can’t believe they won. Can you believe that shit? The fucking Giants are in the super bowl. Laughing. Fingers circle in the air for another round of shots. Holy shit. They fucking won.

It was in negative 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind chill was at negative 23. Green Bay, Wisconsin. Lambeau Field. The Packers home field. All this in January. Those are tough conditions.

Plus, the Giants, although being a good team, had proven to be mostly fuck ups throughout the year. At least that’s how I saw them. The quarterback wasn’t maturing fast enough. He still made too many mistakes. Haunted by the long shadows of his brother and father. The running was acceptable but the coaching was questionable. The team had talent, but wasn’t a unit. It never cliqued. They just weren’t a solid squad.

But they made the playoffs. That wasn’t saying much because their conference was weak. Still though, they made it.

And they beat Tampa, which, although not a great team, were a strong team. And they beat them at their home field. Then they went to Dallas and beat them. That was huge because Dallas was considered the best team in the conference. Then they went to Green Bay to face the packers. Brett Farve’s land.

And they fucking beat them.

Growing up in San Francisco, it was, and still is, the 49ers that are my home team. But for some reason I admired the scrappy Giants all season, and sympathized with the pressure Eli Manning, the young quarterback, had to go through. Of course I’d be much happier were the ‘9ers the ones that had gone this far, but in the long run, I don’t think I care that much either way.

Still though… Fucking hell. The New York Giants are in the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

i said good day sir!

by this time tomorrow ill be in costa rica.

surrounded by howling monkeys and thirsty locals and thick, wet, green trees with tarantula's crawling in them.

there will be a volcano erupting in the distance. ill see the hot orange cherries bursting up and then sliding in a thick pool down the mountain. a monkey will screech and swing from the top of a pole. a bus stop sign on the street corner. i'll be nervous and excited. hungry. ready for a drink.

seven days ill be there. 3 nights in the rain forest, marveling at the sloths, wary of the insects. then 3 nights on the beach. burning my belly on a surfboard. drinking cocktails in the sand.

im totally doing the zip line too. if you were in paris, you'd visit out the Louvre right?

then its settled. im out.

check ya later dudes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

two birds

my mother got a treadmill. she called me today to brag about it. she said one of the reasons she got it was because i inspired her with how i handle my hectic schedule while still squeezing in a little exercise every now and again. that and the fact that L-sixpack teaches pilates and lives a life of aerobic ambitions. the winter hasnt been kind either, which put a burden on her daily walks down the road and back. now she strolls a few miles in her living room while watching the shopping channel. she can drop a size and buy new clothes at the same time.

her husband got a weight set. im not sure if this is some old age crisis they are going through, or if they just cant resist a sale. he's already pretty strong, much stronger than me even though he's twice my age, so im not sure what he felt he needed a weight set for. i doubt he uses it, though ive been wrong about things before. it seems a little much to be lifting weights at that age. a gratuitous exertion of energy uncalled for in the twilight years. when i get that age, im pretty sure ill be comfortable settling into deterioration. im practically there already as it is.

next time i visit im going to challenge her to a race and him to a push up contest.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


a thread on one of the elite music industry discussion boards caught my interest. it was on the topic of the best musical scenes in movies of the last year. i hadnt thought much of it until someone mentioned the lapdance scene set to The Coasters "Down In Mexico" in the Tarantino flick, "Death Proof."

i had to concur. not only did that scene make me want the song [which a good scene will do] but it made khaki shorts and flip flops uber sexy. this also lead me to thinking about certain song use and how powerful it is in cinema. here are a few examples:

Michael Madson cutting off the cops ear to the tune of "Stuck in the Middle With You" in Reservoir Dogs. You will never hear that song the same again.

The entire soundtrack to "American Graffiti," which was actually one of the first movies where every scene was set to music [george lucas made most scenes 3 minutes to last the amount of time Wolfman Jack played a song on the radio]

Alex raping a girl while singing along to "Singing in the Rain" in "A Clockwork Orange." Brutal. Scarred me as a child.

The climax of "Boogie Nights" where the guys are sitting in that cokeheads mansion listening to "Sister Christian" while the strange asian kid continues to pop firecrackers.

and there are a million more [well, maybe a few hundred more]. im sure you have a few favs of your own.

but back on the topic of "Death Proof." i have to say, the first half of the movie was INSUFFERABLY boring, but once the halfway mark ended, after the first brutal death scene, the tension was ratcheted up and steadily built to a masterful climax that had me laughing and slapping five. good on ya tarantino!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

ozzy osbourne rocks harder than you

i just finished the autobiography of Motley Crue. its called 'The Dirt' and i highly recommend it. now im going to read 'White Noise' by Don Delillo. After that i'll begin 'Blood Meridian' by Cormac McCarthy.

i suggest you read all three of these books, the second two are written by what could be argued as America's finest authors, the first one could be seen as a "How To" manual on rocking out. i never really liked Motley Crue or their music, but if they werent truely genuine rock stars then i dont know who is [ok, maybe the rolling stones are without question]. they are the rock stars that other rock stars try to emulate, and they were just because thats who they were. loud, violent, testosterone fueled assholes that loved making music and partying.

even they recognize though, that they could never, would never, and will never rock as hard as ozzy osbourne. that dudes just crazy.
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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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